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Cob site decision next week

The state of Oregon will decide the fate of the proposed Cob Energy Facility in a series of meetings next week at the Klamath County Fairgrounds.

The Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council will hold hearings at 1 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday as it decides whether to grant a permit to the power plant, an 1,150-megawatt facility proposed 30 miles east of Klamath Falls.

The proposed plant would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build, create hundreds of jobs during the construction period and eventually create substantial revenue for Klamath County.

But the plant has drawn objections from some residents in the Bonanza area who have complained that it would disrupt their rural way of life. There have also been allegations that the site is on a fault line, raising the concern of earthquake damage.

Although the council is charged with deciding whether power plants can be built in Oregon, its decision is expected to be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Even if the plant is approved by the siting council and upheld by the Supreme Court, there's no guarantee that Cob will actually be built.

The Cob facility was first proposed in December 2001. The siting council will consider a recommendation from the Oregon Department of Energy that a permit for the plant be granted, as well as the recommendation of state hearings officer Virginia Gustafson, who spent the past several months in a proceeding called a contested case.

In the contested case process, Gustafson heard arguments from Cob developer Peoples Energy, and from opposition groups and individuals such as Save Our Rural Oregon and Water for Life.

The groups who participated in the contested case process will be allowed to make oral arguments during the council's meetings next week. The public is welcome to attend, but the council will not take public comments.

The meeting will be held at the Klamath County Fairgrounds in Exhibit Hall No. 2.

Staff writer Brook Reinhard also contributed to this story.

On the Net: www.energy.state.or.us/siting/facility.htm#COB.


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